USOC panel dismisses Hope Solo case against U.S. Soccer on procedural grounds

On Tuesday, a three-person USOC panel granted U.S. Soccer's motion to dismiss Hope Solo's complaint that the federation is in violation of USOC by-laws and provisions of the Stevens Act, which governs national governing bodies.

Hope Solo v. USSF: The Complaint

It was granted on the basis that she has not exhausted her administrative remedies -- if she has a complaint with U.S. Soccer about how it operates, she needs to first to take it up with the federation and file a grievance, going through its grievance procedures (Section 703), and if she doesn't like that decision she can then take her complaint to the USOC to the extent it will hear the case.

Solo argued the U.S. Soccer grievance procedure was flawed in that it utilizes the American Arbitration Association (AAA) as an arbiter and would cause her unnecessary delay.

The panel's view:

“In reviewing USSF's internal grievance process, the Hearing Panel finds that it is fair and impartial, time driven with deadlines that must be met and not overly complicated…USSF should not be faulted for utilizing the AAA to administer, or having AAA and CAS arbitrators hear and decide, claims against it. The Hearing Panel recognizes the concerted and purposeful effort USSF made to utilize the AAA to administer claims of noncompliance and to have AAA and CAS arbitrators hear and render a ruling on such claims. This was done to ensure a fair and impartial process.”

The three-person panel -- USOC board member Jim Benson, US Ski and Snowboard chief legal officer Alex Natt and former pairs skater Mark Ladwig -- said it was confident U.S. Soccer's grievance procedure will offer her a "prompt and equitable" hearing.

The panel said Solo did not show any urgency to hear her complaint or harm that she has suffered. It also rejected the argument that it would be duplicative to have the AAA first hear her case in the U.S. Soccer grievance process and later if she appealed a USOC ruling to the AAA via the USOC's remedies for a complaint like the one Solo wants to bring under Section 10 of its dispute resolution procedures.

The panel denied U.S. Soccer's claim for costs and attorney's fees.
1 comment about "USOC panel dismisses Hope Solo case against U.S. Soccer on procedural grounds".
  1. Kenneth Barr, July 27, 2018 at 1:19 p.m.

    There is an inherent conflict of interest in submitting a complaint about the federation to the federation.  Without evaluating the merits or the source, the USOC has once again abrogated its responsibilities.

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